Although it may have not been the biggest upset of the season, the landscape for the National Championship took a major shift last Saturday as Stanford defeated USC. USC looked like they were going to land in the BCS title game, and now the Trojans aren’t even winning the Pac 12 South. The Cardinal proved how difficult conference play can be as they have had the Trojans’ number putting up their first four game winning streak in the history of the series. I’m hoping conference play will also help my Upset Watch although I did go 2-4 last week, a high mark so far. Let’s see what Week 4 holds in store.
Big Ten. Upsets (Week Three): Ball St. 41, Indiana 39. Week Four Upset Call: (18) Michigan over (11) Notre Dame. How good are the Irish? Notre Dame has roared out to a 3-0 start punctuated with a win at East Lansing last week 20-3. But, the last time we saw the Irish in South Bend, they were rallying to drive for a late FG to hold off Purdue 20-17. Michigan used this game last year at Ann Arbor, rallying to a 35-31 win over Notre Dame, to springboard a comeback season that ended up with a trip to the Sugar Bowl. Michigan has put the opening weekend loss to Alabama behind them, and the offense has come out clicking putting up 31 and 63 in wins over Air Force and UMass.
ACC. Upsets (Week Three): Pittsburgh 35, Virginia Tech 17. Week Four Upset Call: (10) Clemson over (4) Florida State. This feels a lot like the previous game discussed; how good are the Seminoles? Their stats are getting quoted left and right but their 3-0 record includes games vs. two FCS teams, Murray St. and Savannah St. So, it’s a little inflated when it’s mentioned Florida St. has outscored their opponents 176-3. Clemson might be the best opponent the Seminoles have left, though, with Virginia Tech’s shocking loss to Pitt last weekend. Clemson beat what might be a down Auburn team by only 7, but the Tigers are the defending ACC champs. Clemson also defeated Florida St. last season 35-30, and the Tigers return 15 starters from that squad. The Tigers aren’t going to blink in the bright light, and the pressure may be on the Seminoles to see how they respond in their first tough test of the season.
Big 12. Upsets (Week Three): None, the only Big 12 team that lost was Kansas to TCU. Week Four Upset Call: Louisiana Monroe over Baylor. Simply put, why not the Warhawks? They are the “trendy” team right now, but they’ve proven they can play with anybody. They almost go to 2-0 with road games against Arkansas and Auburn, falling to Auburn in OT. They are aggressive, going for it a lot on fourth downs, and they believe they can win. Now, they are at home for the first time this season. Baylor has started off life after RGIII well with two comfortable wins at home over SMU and Sam Houston St.
Big East. Upsets (Week Three): Rutgers 23, South Florida 13. Week Four Upset Call: Rutgers over Arkansas. I’ll stay with the Scarlet Knights for another week. They’ve had extra time off, having played South Florida last Thursday, and they are off to a 3-0 start. Arkansas is in a bad spot. A lot depends on whether they get Tyler Wilson back or not, but Razorbacks fans were also hoping for a 3-0 start as Arkansas started the season in the top 10. Now, Arkansas is 1-2 with an OT loss to Louisiana Monroe and a 52-0 loss to Alabama, the first time Arkansas was shut out at home since 1966. For a team that lost its head coach in the off season and may be without their leader in Tyler Wilson, the season might be slipping away.
Pac 12. Upsets (Week Three): Stanford 21, USC 14. Week Four Upset Call: Utah over Arizona St. I think the three highest ranked Pac 12 teams playing this weekend (Oregon, USC, and UCLA) will all take care of business at home. I like the Utes here for the perseverance this squad showed. After losing QB Jordan Wynn to a career ending shoulder injury and getting upset by Utah St., Utah held on to defeat a then-ranked BYU team 24-21. After getting out a fast start under new coach Todd Graham, Arizona St. suffered their first loss of the season 24-20 at Missouri. How will the Sun Devils look returning home? Arizona State did handle the Utes in Utah last season, winning 35-14.
SEC. Upsets (Week Three): Florida 37, Tennessee 20. Western Kentucky 32, Kentucky 31. Week Four Upset Call: Vanderbilt over (5) Georgia. Yes, in Athens, this would be a monumental upset. But, Georgia has played two weaker teams, Buffalo and Florida Atlantic, and they were down to Missouri 20-17 late in the third before putting up twenty-four unanswered to put it away. Georgia is very good, but despite being ranked No. 5, don’t look to be on the same level as Alabama and LSU. Vanderbilt comes in 1-2, but they gave South Carolina all they could handle in the season opener before falling 17-13. The Commodores also played Georgia tight last season falling by five, 33-28.